Essential Oil Chemistry, Resources|

In the fields of essential oils and fragrances, samples often consist of mixtures of compounds with similar structural and physical characteristics (e.g. mono- and sesquiterpenoids), whose correct identification closely depends on the synergic combination of chromatographic and mass spectral data. This sample complexity means that new GC stationary phases with different selectivities are continually being investigated. Ionic liquids (ILs) are of great interest as GC stationary phases in this field because of their selectivity (significantly different than that of currently phases) and their high temperature stability.

A first generation of IL GC columns was found to be competitive when applied to these field, in terms of selectivity and efficiency, compared to conventional columns (polydimethylsiloxane, (e.g. OV-1), methyl-polysiloxane 5%-phenyl (e.g. SE-52), 7%-cyanopropyl, 7%-phenyl polysiloxane (e.g. OV-1701), and polyethylen glycol (e.g. PEG–20 M). However, these columns showed significant activity towards polar or active analytes, which primarily affected their quantitative performance. A new generation of highly-inactive columns coated with three of the most widely-used ionic liquid GC stationary phases has recently been introduced; these phases are SLB-IL60i (1,12-di(tripropylphosphonium) dodecane bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl) imide [NTf2], SLB-IL76i (tri-(tripropylphosphonium-hexanamido)-triethylamine [NTf2]), and SLB-IL111i (1,5-di (2,3-dimethyllimidazolium) pentane [NTf2]). This study carefully tested the new inert IL columns, in view of their routine application in the fragrance and essential oil fields. They were found to have unusually high selectivity, comparable to that of first-generation IL columns, while their inertness and efficiency were competitive with those of currently-used conventional columns. The IL column performance of first and second generations was compared, through the quali-quantitative analysis of components in a group of different complexity samples; these included the Grob test, a standard mixture of “suspected” skin allergens, and the essential oils of chamomile and sandalwood.

Cagliero, C., C. Bicchi, C. Cordero, E. Liberto, P. Rubiolo and B. Sgorbini (2017). “Analysis of essential oils and fragrances with a new generation of highly inert gas chromatographic columns coated with ionic liquids.” Journal of Chromatography A 1495: 64-75.

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